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Chicken Stock for Beef Stew?

I haven't made a beef stew in awhile and have been looking online for some ideas. I have never heard of using chicken stock but have seen it listed in a few different recipes.

Has anyone ever tried this?

And while we are talking stew, any good recipes? (I like to take a few and then make up my own)

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  1. i usually start these kinds of things with some water and either beer or wine and let the meat make its own stock. once the meat is cooked, i put everything in the fridge overnight so i can de-fat in the morning. then i remove all solids i've put in, and reduce the heck out of the liquid.

    i'm not a recipe kinda gal with stews or braises, i confess. i sear the meat on all sides, then remove it. then add onions and carrots to the fat and caramelize those, along with dried herbs like bay and thyme. add the meat back, and the liquids. sometimes tomato paste. when the stew is done, i'll toss out the stock veggies and add new, plus potatoes and mushrooms and cook those just til done. i hate mushy veg in stews.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      Ditto, "let the meat make it's own stock." I like to sear the meat, carmelize the onions, then braise in water, beer or wine, herbs, garlic, a bit of tomato paste and let the onions melt down while braising to flavor and thicken the stock. Add potatoes and carrots, mushrooms, or peas at the very end, whatever you like, cook until veg are just tender and that's it.

    2. Yes, this is a common thing. The finished stew won't taste chicken-y. Better to use chicken than storebought beef stock, which is never of comparable quality. Even better of you have homemade chicken stock. Many people, including me, like onion soup made with a combo of chicken and beef stock. Whenever I make turkey stock, which I don't much enjoy in other soups, I add beef base and water, which is wonderful for onion soup.

      3 Replies
      1. re: greygarious

        I too use chicken stock in beef stew after reading an article in CI a few years ago evaluating commercial beef broths. Was it you who said that Swanson's now make a beef STOCK rather than broth that's actually good? And, yes, the stew has no chicken flavor.

        Edit --- Here's the recipe I used twice recently. You add the carrots and potatoes well into the cooking of the meat. They stay nice and firm while still adding plenty of flavor.


        1. re: c oliver

          Yes, the Swanson's STOCK is pretty good. I used it in Cincinnati chili back when I was in the States.

        2. re: greygarious

          oooh, i much prefer onion soup with chicken stock! ever tried red onions? very nice change-up.

        3. I do this all the time. In fact, I use whatever stock I have available when I make a beef stew. Vegetable stock works nicely as well. You'll get plenty of flavor from the beef.
          I agree that whatever homemade stock you use would be better than using storebought beef stock.
          Adding the carrots and potatoes later is a good method. I also add parsnips and rutabaga because I like the character they add to the liquid.

          1. Absolutely...Anything, (well almost) is better than plain water...I start the process with good beef stock/broth rather than tying to make one as I go along....

            1. The chicken broth gives a luscious flavor and texture to the sauce. I've not used it for stew but often use chicken broth instead of beef broth when making a braise with chuck roast and the typical stew vegetables; if using chix broth I don't usually include wine.

              1. Usually when I make a beef stew, I use either wine or beer/lager. If I don't happen to have enough of whichever one of those I'm using, I will stretch it with stock--and most of the time I only have chicken stock in the freezer. It's always seemed fine to me; I think the key is really getting a good sear, good caramelization on the beef and veggies, and a good fond. Between those things and a good dry wine or beer/lager, their flavors are strong enough to determine the taste of the stew.

                1. Dried onion soup mix plus a couple of cans of beer will make a tasty beef stew. Just don't add extra salt until you taste the finished product as the soup mix is VERY salty. Crock pot makes great stew---I put half a cup of flour in the dry crock, mix it with any other dry ingredients, which ones depending on what I'm doing---the soup mix, or salt, paprika, curry powder, garlic powder etc---then I stir an 8-oz can of tomato sauce into this, then add whatever liquid I am using (beer, wine, water, stock, tomato juice) then the beef, lamb, or chicken and the vegetables. If it's going to be curry I add a bag of frozen peas. Otherwise, onions, carrots, potatoes---all depends. And enough liquid to make a LOT of gravy. Any leftover beef stew gets a crust and becomes a meat pie a couple of nights later.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Querencia

                    Isn't beef "stew" made with beer a carbonade? I've made that and it's good but tastes distinctly of beer and not the predominant flavor of beef.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Yes, c, it is a carbonnade, but a carbonnade is a type of stew or braise. I've made it often and I find the predominant flavor will change according to the beer used. Not unlike wine, really. Sometimes the beer flavor will dominate, but sometimes it will just blend in with the other seasonings to the point where it's barely discernible.

                      1. re: Normandie

                        I think I just want the beef to be the main flavor.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          I've used a lot of variations--ales, American mass market beers, dark European beers, microbrewery heavily flavored beers, and lagers. You might try a really pale ale or a light beer if you like some of the attributes of a carbonnade but want the meat to predominate. Or even, try diluting one of the less heavy brews.

                          Do you have the same response to beef braised in wines? Are there any varieties of wines in particular that let the beef come through to the degree you like?

                          1. re: Normandie

                            The recipe I've been using recently (link above) has a very small of red wine with most of the liquid being chicken stock. I don't think for beef stew I'd want a dominant wine OR beef flavor. I have done a Julia Child recipe that's called something like "Zinfandel of Beef" (I don't think I made that up!) where, of course, it was heavy on the red wine. Just me. For me, the simpler recipes should be a "less is better" approach.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              i typically use 1 bottle of beer for 3 or 4 pounds of meat, with the rest being water or orange juice. it doesn't "taste of beer" at all.

                  2. When someone uses chicken stock in a beef dish, it is usually to give the sauce a lip smacky mouth feel that only comes from collagen. Collagen is not in canned beef stock and most people don't make their own beef stock because it takes 8 hours.

                    Chicken stock is another matter. Lots of people make their own chicken stock with bones to get the gelatin collagen consistency. Consequently, even in a beef dish, they will call for a cup or so of chicken stock. It doesn't change the flavor but adds the mouth feel.

                    If I make beef stew I use beef broth augmented by "better then bouillon" beef base. It is salty so cut down on the salt elsewhere.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tonka11_99

                      Chicken stock is actually fairly common in competition chili.

                    2. There was an episode on America's Test Kitchen a couple of years ago where Chris & Co. discussed the problem of canned beef stock. They agreed with me: canned beef stock usually tastes like melted tin can. Their solution, if you don't want to make your own beef stock from scratch, was to combine half canned chicken stock with half canned beef stock. My own preference is to use good quality canned chicken stock and "beef it up" with Better than Boullion beef flavoring.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: mandycat

                        But what about boxed beef stock (think, Kitchen Basics or Progresso)? Don't see how that stuff could taste tinny.

                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                          I think it is not so much the container (can versus box) but the whole commercial beef stock methodology that is the problem. I've tried canned and boxed beef stocks and they were all bad in their own particular way. The Better Than Boullion beef flavoring is the best I've found. If you haven't tried any of the BtB varieties, you find them with the rest of the boullion mixes in a glass jar. They're a sort of paste that has to be refrigerated after opening.

                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                              I don't remember the exact cost but it never struck me as outrageous compared to the boullion cubes and the dried stuff so it must be somewhere in the ballpark with its competition. BtB is such much better that I guess I haven't bothered to worry about the incremental cost. I usually keep both the chicken and the beef flavors on hand. They also make a ham flavor that I mean to try some day when I'm making ham and bean soup.

                      2. I have not read other people's comments, so I am only commenting on your original post. Yes, it is not unusual to use chicken stock in a beef stew.